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There are Irish pubs all around the world. In Eire they’re in huge hassle

(CNN) — Ireland. Close your eyes and picture what you think of when you envision the Emerald Isle. The green. The natural beauty. That distinctive accent. But above all, Ireland is forever associated with its famed hospitality — the warmth of its people and its pubs.

It’s a country that prides itself on the slogan “Céad Míle Fáilte,” literally meaning “a Hundred Thousand Welcomes.” Millions of visitors are welcomed into the country’s drinking establishments for a pint every year.

But in a time of a third wave of Covid and a prolonged Iockdown in the country, the pandemic has brought the Irish hospitality sector, and in particular, the pub industry, to its knees. Although each bar faces a different set of circumstances and challenges, one thing is very clear. Ireland’s iconic watering holes face a deeply uncertain future.

“There’s a quiet level of despair about our position today,” says Donall O’Keeffe, CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association, the prominent trade…